When we first started talking about the rumoured Aqara HomeKit hub all the way back in April 2018, inevitably, questions started to fill the internet about availability, compatibility and price, amongst other things, and whilst the Chinese version of the hub came out in August of that year, the US and EU versions failed to materialise, despite various proposed launch dates (particularly with regard to the US variant). We have, of course, since seen the release of the US version of the hub, and literally at the 11th hour have now seen a trickle of EU devices released in Sweden, along with Norway, but what of the UK variant? Does it even exist? This has been the #1 question from UK HomeKit enthusiasts repeatedly, and although I personally always hoped there’d be one, there just seemed to be literally nothing on the horizon – at all – when it came to getting an Aqara hub with a UK plug on the back. Just recently, it felt like it would never happen for two main reasons;
- The UK market for smart home products is, although growing, still relatively small, and what has been expressed by lots of manufacturers outside of the UK has been that there’s not enough business to be had at this time for UK plugs on smart devices.
- The announcement of the next generation of Aqara hub; This device, with its generally superior specs, allied with the fact that this newer device can be powered by any suitable Micro-USB cable connected to a USB power adaptor, would make the prospect of a UK specific hub a bit null and void, so to speak.
However, things aren’t always as cut and dried as they might seem. In a recent exchange on the HomeKit subreddit, our friend, Jon Ratcliffe from activejr.com has stated in a thread regarding the EU version of the hub, that there is indeed a UK version of the current Aqara HomeKit hub, which he will be revealing in two weeks time (as of 24th July) via his website, and also presumably via his YouTube channel.
On top of this claim, which we have no reason to doubt, our inside source has just found a reference to another hub hidden inside the Mi Home config files. The details are scant, but essentially the regional hubs tend to have their own reference codes, with lumi.gateway.aqhm01 being the Chinese variant, and the US and EU versions referred to as lumi.gateway.aqhm02. Our source has now found lumi.gateway.aqhm03, which can only be a reference to another variant of the Aqara hub, namely the UK version. Speculation, sure, but based on a lot of clear signs.
This is quite a revelation, especially given the two points listed earlier. However, taking those two previous points and placing them in a different light, it does make a UK hub a lot more plausible;
- Despite the UK market for smart devices that require a specific UK plug being small, there are in fact close to 50 countries that also use the same Type G/BS 1363 plug, most notably, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Malta, Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong, so there would be a larger demand for such a device, than with just the UK.
- Whilst the Aqara M2 has been announced and may well come out in September, there’s no guarantee that it will be sold outside of China, and as such makes a readily available hub with a UK plug a lot more attractive to the casual buyer.
We can assume that given Jon’s statement about revealing the hub in the next couple of weeks, the official release of the hub is close at hand, and are more than happy to know that the UK isn’t getting left out, like it seems to be for smart home devices.
Thanks to Sebastian G and Jon Ratcliffe for the info.